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Cardinals Lose C Willson Contreras After Left Arm Fractured By J.D. Martinez's Swing | TheSportsDay Cardinals Lose C Willson Contreras After Left Arm Fractured By J.D. Martinez's Swing | TheSportsDay

Cardinals lose C Willson Contreras after left arm fractured by J.D. Martinez’s swing

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The St. Louis Cardinals are having a nightmare season, and it just got even worse. Their catcher, Willson Contreras, needs surgery and will be out for 6-8 weeks after sustaining a left forearm fracture during Tuesday night’s game against the New York Mets.

The way the fracture happened was a freak accident. In the top of the second inning, his arm was hit by J.D. Martinez‘s bat as it was swinging at a pitch. As soon as the bat hit his body, it was clear something was wrong. Contreras immediately fell over onto the ground, shouting and writhing in pain, and left the game shortly after.

It might seem like catchers get hit with bats all the time, but it’s not that common. The hitter and catcher are typically set up with the perfect amount of distance between them to avoid contact. Martinez was standing right in the middle of the box, and Contreras, in his ninth year in the majors, is a seasoned veteran who shouldn’t have an issue finding his position at the plate.

So what happened? It turns out the Cardinals wanted Contreras, who statistically has been the most valuable player on the entire team, to improve his framing a bit. According to Cardinals beat writer John Denton, the Cards wanted Contreras to get more low strikes, so they moved him up closer to the plate. Unfortunately, moving him up that little bit is why he was in the path of Martinez’s bat.

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Willson Contreras reacts after fracturing his left arm during the second inning against the New York Mets at Busch Stadium. (Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)

That Contreras was injured due to a Cardinals intervention feels very fitting with the season the team has been having. Tuesday night’s 7-5 loss was their sixth in their last eight games. They’re 15-21, six games below .500, and in last place in the National League Central. As for their other heavy hitters, Paul Goldschmidt is hitting .195 and Nolan Arenado‘s power has gone completely missing. Without Contreras, who is hitting a team-best .280/.398/.551, the team’s cumulative wins above replacement is actually in the negative.

All the Cardinals can do now is wait for Contreras to heal. Until he returns, backup Iván Herrera will be manning the backstop.

 

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